COLUMBUS: Even as recently as last year, Rootstown senior David Paliscak really didn’t know how far he’d take his involvement in track and field or of what he was capable.
After placing second in the shot put last year, Paliscak realized that hard work could pay off. That’s the mantra he focused on throughout 2013, and it resulted in two Division III state titles on Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the first in the shot put and second in the discus throw.
“Just for myself, for how hard I worked, I really wanted it,” Paliscak said. “Hard work does pay off. That’s what I was thinking — how much hard work I put into this.”
Paliscak broke a school record in the shot put with a mark of 62-5¼ inches. He then won the discus throw with a best of 173-1.
“Coming into this meet, I knew I had to stay relaxed and worry about myself,” he said. “Last week at regionals, I didn’t throw very well, I think I was pushing it too much.”
Paliscak’s teammate, senior Dawn Freeland, finished fourth in the girls shot put with a best of 41-4¼ inches. Waynedale senior Kia Tyler was seventh at 40-3½ inches.
Top Div. III finishers
Canton Central Catholic junior Kate Mokros placed third in the Division III 200-meter dash with a time of 25.38 seconds and fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.44 seconds. Minerva junior Maddie Fischer came in fourth in the discus with a best of 126-7. The St. Thomas Aquinas girls 3,200 relay team of freshman Athena Walsh, senior Victoria Laubacher and juniors Amanda Vincent and Molly Pusateri placed seventh with a time of 9:50.06.
Top Div. II finishers
Canton South had a strong showing in two preliminary events. First, junior Taylor Thompkins ran a personal best in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.29 seconds to place second. Thompkins was then part of the 400 relay, along with junior Ebonee Williams, junior Sydney Vaughn and senior Imani Bush, that finished second at 49.64 seconds.
“I heard my third leg [Thompkins] tell me that we needed to go,” Bush said. “We needed to get to the finals tomorrow, and we’re really excited that we got one of those top-two spots.”
Orrville junior Elijah Coleman won the boys 400-meter dash preliminary with a time of 49.42 seconds.
In the boys pole vault, senior Logan Studer of Norwayne came in fourth with a best mark of 14-6. Norwayne also took sixth place in the 800 relay with a time of 1:29.86. Junior Trevahn Beery, the anchor, later took sixth in the 400-meter dash at 50.21 seconds.
Fairless senior Rebecca Fortner placed fifth in the high jump with a best jump of 5-2.
Crestwood’s 3,200 relay of senior Tori Chiller, junior Marissa Midgley, sophomore Madeleine Sorrick and junior Abby Soltisz took sixth in the preliminaries with a time of 9:35.32.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.